Town draw Sunderland again

Former FA Youth Cup winners Ipswich have drawn Sunderland at home following their thrilling 2-1 win over Leeds, after extra time, at Elland Road on December 1 and will play the tie at Portman Road on Wednesday, January 28, writes David Vincent.

Former FA Youth Cup winners Ipswich have drawn Sunderland at home following their thrilling 2-1 win over Leeds, after extra time, at Elland Road on December 1 and will play the tie at Portman Road on Wednesday, January 28, writes David Vincent.

Academy assistant director Ian Smith said: "It is a very good draw.

"There is a strong Dutch influence at Sunderland under Kees Zwamborn, the former academy director at Ajax. Bryan (Klug) saw Sunderland beat Leeds in the league recently."

Klug added: "It is a nice coincidence that we will play them four days after the first team play them in the FA Cup as well.


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"I have seen very little of them but did see them play Leeds before we met them in the FA Youth Cup. I was very impressed with the way they played, and they beat Leeds 1-0.

"I expect many of the same players will be involved in the FA Youth Cup against us.

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"They have some good young players including some on the fringe of their first-team squad like the boy Grant Leadbitter, a regular for the England U17 side.

"For us, of course, a question mark always remains over Dean Bowditch; the more he is involved in the first team, the less we expect him to play at this level.

"On the plus side we have Blair Hammond coming back and he is a young striker who we think a lot of, who has not yet played this season. It is a bonus for us he will be available now.

"Another player we might have available is Billy Clarke, providing we get international clearance for him. He has impressed as a trialist and he is going to sign on schoolboy forms prior to joining as a scholar in the summer.

"He is from Cork and a lot of clubs have been interested in him. We have to compete with bigger clubs for players like him."

On the minus side big defender Gerard Nash will miss out but many of this under-18 squad, like Aidan Collins, Scott Mitchell and Scott Barron, are gaining experience in Town's reserve side as well as playing in under-19 league games.

Klug added: "Our performance at Leeds was as good a youth performance as we have produced since we went to Arsenal and won the FA Youth Cup semi-final first leg, when Darren Bent and Darren Ambrose each scored twice.

"Arsenal were a team of superb footballers which made that a special result and performance.

"At Leeds we had to put on a different kind of performances to resist their rugged, physical challenge and come away with the win.

"In the three weeks leading to the Christmas break we had hit top form against Leeds, Norwich and West Ham. We need to get back to that standard quickly.

"It showed a lot of the boys are going in the right direction."

There is also a reserve game against Wimbledon next week so some academy players will be needed for that.

Today's squad: Supple, Atay, Collins, Krause, Okay, Kamara, Manning, Beveridge, Craig, Flack, Reid, Smith, Hammond, Lordan, Knights, Blackmore.

FA Youth Cup fourth round draw: Aston Villa v Wimbledon, Swindon Town v Cardiff City, Manchester United v Manchester City, West Ham United v Chester-Le-Street Town, Leicester City v Cambridge United, Walsall v Middlesbrough, Arsenal v Southampton, Nottingham Forest v Coventry City, Tranmere Rovers v Stevenage Borough, Wolves v Rotherham United, Blackburn Rovers v West Bromwich Albion, Cirencester Town v Crewe Alexandra, Ipswich Town v Sunderland, Gillingham v Watford, Stoke City v Newcastle United, Norwich City v Sheffield United.

Winning clubs progress to two semi-finals in April.The final is over two legs, home and away, on dates to be confirmed. The games are also broadcast live by Sky television.

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